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 SPOKANE, Wash., Oct. 21 /PRNewswire/ -- The Washington Water Power Co. (NYSE: WWP) today reported decreased third quarter earnings compared with a year ago, but earnings for the 12-month period ended Sept. 30, 1993, were 10 percent higher than during the same period in 1992.
 The company posted third quarter earnings of 20 cents per share, a decrease of 13 cents per share from the 33 cents per share third quarter earnings for 1992. Earnings for the 12 months ended Sept. 30, 1993, improved to $2.89 per share from the $2.62 per share posted in 1992.
 Company earnings for the first nine months of 1993 were $2.06 per share, compared with $1.91 for the first three quarters of 1992.
 Total earnings per share, giving effect to the November 1993 two-for-one stock split, would be 10 cents per share and $0.165 per share for the third quarters of 1993 and 1992, respectively. For the 12 months ended Sept. 30, earnings would be $1.445 per share and $1.31 per share for 1993 and 1992, respectively. Cumulative earnings for the first three quarters would be $1.03 per share and $0.955 per share for 1993 and 1992, respectively. The stock split will be effective Nov. 9, 1993.
 Paul A. Redmond, WWP's chairman of the board and chief executive officer, said the difference between 1993 third quarter earnings and third quarter earnings of a year ago can, for the most part, be traced to a pair of non-recurring items recorded during 1992. Those two items added 12 cents to 1992 third quarter earnings.
 "Our results from continuing operations in the third quarter of 1993 were not substantially different from those achieved a year ago," Redmond said. "Last year, we benefited from prior period tax adjustments recorded by WIDCo, our former coal-mining subsidiary, and from utility gains related to IRS tax audit settlements. Without those adjustments, year-to-year third quarter earnings were virtually flat."
 Redmond said third quarter revenues from the company's natural gas business were up significantly from a year ago, with some of the gain attributable to continued strong customer growth on WWP's system. Customer growth on the company's gas system in the Inland Northwest averaged 9.5 percent during the past year. WP Natural Gas, a division of the company with operations in parts of Oregon and northern California, posted 7.5 percent growth for the 12-month period ended Sept. 30.
 The increased revenues on the gas side of the business were offset by increased purchased gas expense, decreases in retail electric revenues -- mostly from declines in energy sales related to the loss of air conditioning load because of colder-than-normal third quarter weather -- and from increased costs for purchased power.
 "We are well ahead of last year's pace for customer additions on both the electric and natural gas sides of our business," Redmond said. "But the benefit of those additions was tempered by the abnormally cool summer weather experienced throughout the Northwest."
 Pentzer Corp. earnings were virtually equal to those achieved during the third quarter of 1992. But total non-utility earnings decreased as a result of the non-recurring tax adjustments from WIDCo in 1992.
 The earnings improvement for the 12-month period ended Sept. 30 primarily resulted from increased retail electric and natural gas revenues that, when combined, were nearly $57 million higher than revenues achieved during the same period in 1992. Wholesale energy sales for the period increased by more than $15.6 million, as the company was able to capitalize on higher prices in both long-term and short-term wholesale energy markets.
 These gains were partially offset by purchased power costs that were nearly $30 million over expense levels incurred during the same period one year ago. Fuel costs for the period were lower by $2.4 million principally because of outages at the Colstrip coal-fired generating plants in eastern Montana.
 Redmond said earnings from Pentzer Corp.'s continuing operations improved from a year ago. Pentzer contributed 37 cents per share to earnings for the 12 months ended Sept. 30, 1993, compared with 18 cents per share from continuing operations for the same period in 1992. The increase was largely due to improved performances from ITRON, the company's electronic manufacturing subsidiary, and Pentzer Energy Services, which benefited from the startup of its Williams Lake Generating Station. Pentzer Energy Services was sold to B.C. Gas Inc. on Oct. 20. Terms of the sale were not disclosed.
 For the third quarter of 1993, utility operating revenues increased by $8.5 million, or 7.7 percent, over the third quarter of 1992. Electric revenues increased $0.9 million, or 0.9 percent. Revenues from the company's consolidated natural gas operations were higher by $7.6 million, or 58.6 percent. Net income for the second quarter, however, decreased by about $3 million, or 36.3 percent.
 For the 12-month period ending Sept. 30, utility operating revenues increased $75.1 million or 14.6 percent, compared with the 1992 period. Electric revenues were up $44.3 million, or 10.6 percent, while revenues from the company's consolidated natural gas operations were higher by $30.8 million, or 32 percent. Net income increased by $9.9 million, or 15.5 percent.
 (Unaudited; Dollars in Thousands except Per Share Amounts)
 For the Twelve Months
 3rd Quarter Ended Sept. 30
 1993 1992 1993 1992
 OPERATING REVENUES $123,507 $118,555 $626,496 $562,946
 Operations and maintenance 64,642 57,904 309,882 268,690
 Administrative and general 13,752 12,390 52,770 48,654
 Depreciation and
 amortization 15,017 13,472 57,033 53,235
 Taxes other than income taxes 9,693 10,198 43,573 43,563
 Total operating expenses 103,104 93,964 463,258 414,142
 INCOME FROM OPERATIONS 20,403 24,591 163,238 148,804
 Interest expense 12,719 13,479 50,530 54,647
 Interest capitalized & AFUCE (1,019) (392) (3,448) (1,524)
 Gain on sale of subsidiary
 stock(B) 0 0 0 (6,685)
 Other - net (2,672) (2,302) (9,379) (478)
 Total interest expense
 and other - net 9,028 10,785 37,703 45,960
 INCOME BEFORE INCOME TAXES 11,375 13,806 125,535 102,844
 INCOME TAXES 3,981 5,450 43,331 34,363
 OPERATIONS 7,394 8,356 82,204 68,481
 Income from discontinued coal
 mining operations -
 net of income taxes(C) 0 1,545 0 2,403
 NET INCOME 7,394 9,901 82,204 70,884
 DEDUCT - Preferred stock
 dividend requirements 2,082 1,564 8,397 6,963
 STOCK $ 5,312 $ 8,337 $ 73,807 $ 63,921
 Average common shares
 outstanding (thousands) 25,998 24,972 25,629 24,390
 From continuing operations $ 0.20 $ 0.27 $ 2.89 $ 2.52
 From discontinued coal mining
 operations(C) 0.00 0.06 0.00 0.10
 Total $ 0.20 $ 0.33 $ 2.89 $ 2.62
 COMMON STOCK $ 0.62 $ 0.62 $ 2.48 $ 2.48
 Utility operations $ 5,656 $ 6,813 $72,844 $59,618
 Non-utility operations $ 1,738 $ 1,543 $ 9,360 $ 8,863
 (A) On July 30, 1993, the board of directors approved a two-for-one common stock split. The split will be effective Nov. 9, 1993. Total earnings per share giving effect to the stock split would be 10 cents and $0.165 for the quarters ended Sept. 30, 1993 and 1992, respectively, and $1.445 and $1.310 for the 12 months ended Sept. 30, 1993 and 1992, respectively. The dividend rate per share would be 31 cents per share.
 (B) The gain resulted from stock issued by the company's electronics subsidiary for the purpose of acquiring EnScan, an electronics equipment production company. Net of tax, the gain was $4,412,000 and equates to 18 cents per share.
 (C) The company sold the assets of its coal mining subsidiary to PacifiCorp for $40,800,000. The sale closed on July 31, 1990. The financial statements have been reclassified to reflect the company's continuing operations.
 -0- 10/21/93
 /CONTACT: Patrick Lynch, 509-482-4246, or Rob Strenge, 509-482-4230, both of Washington Water Power/

CO: Washington Water Power Co. ST: Washington IN: UTI SU: ERN

JH -- SE004 -- 5199 10/21/93 12:11 EDT
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Publication:PR Newswire
Date:Oct 21, 1993
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